Trump Needs Eighth Grade Civics Class

Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey

Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey, used under Creative Commons license

Now Trump claims he is going to sign an immigration bill by executive order. Somebody needs to explain to him the difference between legislation—bills—that are passed by Congress and executive orders, that are issued by the president. Here’s what he told Telemundo anchor José Diaz-Balart yesterday (July 10):

“The deal was done. DACA is going to be just fine. We’re putting it in. It’s going to be just fine. And I am going to be, over the next few weeks, signing an immigration bill that a lot of people don’t know about. You have breaking news, but I’m signing a big immigration bill.”

“I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president and I’m going to make DACA a part of it. But, we put it in, and we’ll probably going to then be taking it out. We’re working out the legal complexities right now, but I’m going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order, which Supreme Court now, because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that.

“No, what I’m going to do is that they’re going to part of a much bigger bill on immigration. It’s going to be a very big bill, a very good bill, and merit-based bill and it will include DACA, and I think people are going to be very happy.

“But one of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA. We’re going to have a road to citizenship.”

The president’s statement enraged right-wing allies who expected him to issue an executive order ending DACA. That includes Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who tweeted that creating a path to citizenship via executive order would be “a HUGE mistake.”

Also—constitutionally impossible. Only Congress can make laws. That’s why, when President Obama created DACA in 2012, he did not create a path to citizenship or to permanent legal residence. Those are actions only Congress can take. Instead, President Obama ordered that any deportation action be deferred, as an exercise of executive discretion: hence the title behind the DACA acronym, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”

Of course, no none actually knows what Trump will do about DACA or anything else. Probably not even Trump.

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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